16 Gulf Road property Dalton

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity expects to close Sept. 30 on its purchase of this Gulf Road home in Dalton, at left. The building will be taken down and a single-family home constructed. In the distance is the historic Fitch-Hoose House property, now a museum devoted to preserving African American history.

DALTON — More than two years after Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity picked up a bidder’s packet for a forlorn property in Dalton, it is close to acquiring the site.

In the meantime, a run-up in the cost of building materials, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, might complicate how the nonprofit goes about budgeting for the creation of a three-bedroom, single-family home.

“It’s going to make it harder to make it affordable,” Carolyn Valli, the group’s chief executive officer, said of building materials costs. “In many cases, it’s more than double.”

A closing on the 16 Gulf Road property to be developed by Habitat is scheduled for Sept. 30, Valli said, now that the group’s pro bono lawyer, Thomas Martin, has corrected a problem with the property’s title. The transaction was delayed because earlier paperwork, from a time when the town acquired the property because of nonpayment of taxes, carried a different address for the house.

The dwelling on the site will be torn down. In its place, volunteers with Habitat will construct an “embankment ranch” home that will appear to be a single level on one side, but two levels on the other side, because of a slope on the parcel. In the rear of the house, occupants will be able to walk out of lower-floor bedrooms and onto a rear part of the property.

Valli said she expects that 20 to 30 families will decide to enter a lottery to be considered for ownership of the home. Eligibility is related to household income. Candidates need to be creditworthy. For information, contact Habitat at 413-442-3181.

“It’s going to be very exciting for lots of folks,” Valli said.

To offset higher costs for building materials, Habitat will be seeking donations, Valli said. She said some recent bills on other Habitat projects have brought a sense of sticker shock. “When we get a bill, it’s ‘Oh, my God. How are we ever going to build affordable homes?’”

The Whirlpool Corp. recently discontinued its practice of donating refrigerators and stoves to Habitat for Humanity projects, because of supply-chain problems, Valli said. The company will not be giving appliances to the Berkshires chapter this year.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.